By Ray O’Hanlon
A Greene County man was sentenced to three 10-year prison terms last week for the attempted murder of the nephew of a famed GAA footballer.
Neil Wallace, 50, will serve the terms concurrently and could be freed from state prison after serving eight-and-a-half years.
Wallace received 10 years for the attempted murder of Tommy Furlong Jr. and two separate 10-year terms for criminal possession of a weapon.
The sentences stem from an incident in East Durham in May 2001.
Furlong, whose parents, Tommy and Yvonne, own the popular Furlong’s bar in the Catskills resort, ran for his life down the town’s main street, zig-zagging and dodging bullets fired by Wallace, an irate ex-cop armed with two .38 caliber Smith and Wessons.
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The incident began when Wallace, who retired from the Yonkers police department in 1991, began harassing patrons in the bar.
Owner Tommy Furlong told Wallace to desist but was instead struck by him. Furlong, who had suffered a heart attack a short time before, fell to the floor.
Hearing the ruckus downstairs, Tommy Jr. came down and ordered Wallace to leave the bar and never return.
But Wallace did return soon after, brandishing the fully loaded handguns. Wallace fired six shots inside the bar in the direction of Tommy Jr., who was standing by the kitchen door. Furlong ran out into the street with Wallace in pursuit.
Furlong, who plays Gaelic football, zig-zagged as he ran along the street.
Wallace, meanwhile, continued to fire shots, five in all, at the fleeing Furlong.
Wallace, who claimed during his trial that he did not mean to hurt Furlong, but only to scare him, left the scene but was arrested soon afterward by State Police officers.
In May of this year, a jury took only two hours to return a guilty verdict. Sentence was imposed at Greene County courthouse in Catskill last week by Judge George J. Pulver Jr.
At the time of the shooting, the Furlongs, a well-known Tullamore, Co. Offaly, GAA family, were still morning the death of 72-year-old Michael Furlong, Tommy Jr.’s uncle and captain of the New York football team in 1958.